Letter: There are many benefits to an extra hour of sun


I read with alarm the plans to go to year-round daylight savings time.

What might be workable for those living in states to the south of us sounds like a terrible idea for those of us enduring winters here at the 49th parallel.

Many have extolled the benefits of having an extra hour of sunlight in afternoon, yet few consider the detrimental effects prolonged morning darkness in the winter will have on our well being, alertness, productivity, and mood.

Scientists have learned that it is the lack of sunlight in the early morning hours that is correlated with low mood, low energy and depression. They prescribe sitting in front of a light box upon arising to keep depression at bay. We have also fought hard to give high school students a later start because they do not learn well at 7:30 a.m. Voting to keep DST all winter will reverse this beneficial policy.

What feels bad about changing to DST in early March is not just the loss of an hour of sleep, but the loss of early morning natural light. As it became light at 6:30 a.m., we had the feeling of coming out of hibernation, awakening more easily, feeling alert and energized for the day.

With DST it’s back to deep darkness when we get up. Imagine winter being even more difficult to endure — and for what?

What if we will be sacrificing our overall mood for an extra hour of chilly, rainy grayness between 4 and 5 p.m.? We who have chosen to live in the far north do not have to choose to subject ourselves to extremely late morning sunrises in the winters.

Let’s say no to year-round DST.

Barbara Banfield, RN


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